No Bad Kid
Children with behavioral problems are a horizontal group at risk of not graduating from the level of education that fits their general abilities. Teachers often find it difficult to work with them, and it is quite common that they only apply a symptomatic approach, without looking into the roots of disturbing behavior. This training and mentoring program of “No Bad Kid” offers a solution by working with the children, their family and school staff.
Children with behavioral problems are a horizontal group at risk of not graduating from the level of education that fits their general abilities. Teachers often find it difficult to work with them, and it is quite common that they only apply a symptomatic approach, without looking into the roots of disturbing behavior. This training and mentoring program offers a solution by working with the children (and their family that is usually the root of the problems) and school staff.
The programme is built on a successful framework and has been ongoing for over a decade. Schools implementing it have made their own long-term commitments that is the basis for success.
It is a complex institutional development programme aiming at implementing a holistic behavior-changing educational model. The programme is implemented taking the following steps:
1. Initial phase: school visit, initial planning with the school head, information session for the teachers.
2. Basic training to change mindsets – knowledge about trauma and basics of Re-EDucation.
3. Developing a behavior management system locally – training, development by the school team, introduction to the whole school.
4. Implementation and regular coaching and supervision from the first school year.
5. Learning in groups and team building training.
6. Crisis intervention training.
7. Refresher trainings.
8. Creating supportive institutional structures and processes.
9. Visiting other schools implementing the programme, exchange of experiences.
10. Training family liaison staff.
11. Experiential education training.
12. Youth leadership training.
Budget and thus funding are difficult to define. The programme largely builds on time investment by the implementing school. In the case of the foundation offering the framework, it is on the one hand part of the daily work of their regular staff financed from projects, on the other hand it also builds on volunteer work. The estimated budget for implementation is 17,000 - 24,000 EUR / school year for 3 - 5 years.
The programme increases collaborative work of teachers that needs to become part of institutional policy. Another policy change is to change from a hostile family-school relationship to a collaborative one.
The most important results and outcomes are higher school attainments, better academic results, increased continuation of studies in secondary education, decreasing percentage of early school leaving, less punitive measures for students.
Teachers experience an increase of their professional position acquiring tools to tackle behavioral problems and not being afraid of aggressive behavior.
The school involves its immediate environment (i.e. parents active or influential in their own community) and broader community in the schoolwork. As a result, the community acknowledges both the problem and the efforts to tackle it.
Disturbing behavior has not been considered a special education need, it is considered differently by different professions, so there has been little to no multi-professional team support or training for teachers. Schools that have been part of the programme reported that teachers lack both theoretical and practical knowledge to cope with these challenges in the classroom on a daily basis. This initiative brings the knowledge and expertise of an NGO to the school that opens its doors for them, ready to not only cooperate, but also to disclose and discuss challenges that are more often hidden deliberately.
The model is based on the Re-ED philosophy (Re-EDucation of Emotionally Disturbed Children). It consists of set of 12 principles that provide guidance on institutional evaluation, basic trainings to change mindsets, in- depth training in the programme methodology, mentoring, supervision, refreshment trainings and peer support, as well as working with the children and their families directly. The main components of the model are the principles and attitudes, the methodology toolkit, the individualization of services and methods based on the child’s needs, the institutional framework, and the supporting broader environment.
Innovation lies in the methodology of Re-ED that requires long-term commitment from schools, but results in a deep change of their whole operation
During training phases schools receive a whole methodological package that they can implement in - and adapt to in necessary - their own context. The most important of them is the local behavior management system.
At the practice requires a long-term commitment on the school’s side and mostly does not offer immediate remedy for their problems, success is only possible if most teachers take participation very seriously and are committed to it.
It is not only teachers learning from each other at school level, but students and parents are all involved in the mutual learning process. Understanding the other is a key element in the programme. Schools participating in the programme are also offered mutual learning possibilities by organizing joint trainings or workshops.
The programme is built on the cooperation of main school stakeholders: students, teachers and the family, so it is 2 - 3 generations working together.
The programme tackles schools as learning institutions. As a result of successful implementation, school changes to become ready for their challenges, and if staff changes and when new children enter the school with another package of challenges, the school is able to implement what they have learnt with less and less outside support.
The Foundation employs a group of well-trained professionals, mostly with psychology and/or pedagogy background to do training and support schools in all other activities. At school level most of the staff is involved.
The programme has a strong build-in monitoring and evaluation element as part of the behaviour management system. Supervision is another monitoring and evaluation tool built into the system. Outcomes are then also evaluated against regular school success indicators such as
• academic results
• enrolment at higher levels of education
• number of unjustified non-attendance
• number of punitive processes and measures
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Most of the challenging students in schools implementing the programme fall in at lease one of these categories:
- has an imprisoned parent.
- there is a history of drug abuse or alcoholism in the family.
- there is bullying and physical abuse in the family.
- they are in foster care.
- their family situation is unclear for some reason.
- one of their parents died
- generational unemployment in the family.
- low socio-economic status or extreme poverty.
- families with multiple problems of the above.
The programme has been implemented by different schools, mostly primary, most of them in deprived areas of larger towns.
The most important ethical aspect is how much schools share about the background of their students with the foundation and with other schools. It is a complex issue to find solutions without disclosing too much. During the coaching and supervision stages, foundation staff has a confidentiality obligation similar to doctor- patient confidentiality.
The practice uses a methodology that is rooted in brain research, psychology, pedagogy, youth work and non-formal education.
The practice is used and useful for teachers of any subject and based on a collaboration of various subject teachers locally.
The basis of this practice is collaboration. Collaboration between the foundation and each school, a strong collaboration among teachers, teacher collaborating with students and their families.
It is part of the programme that they aim for making people more responsible for their actions. This is true for teachers, but for students an active citizenship element, primarily participation and responsibility are key.
They also aim for making parents more active and participatory, supporting their citizenship education, too.
Both supervision and coaching are available for participating schools, provided by the foundation.
This practice can only be successful if there is a deep commitment and good cooperation between schools and the foundation. Participating schools cannot make the necessary changes happen without a close cooperation with the foundation, and at the same time the foundation also needs to have quality cooperating with schools to tailor response to the needs of each individual school.